Grow My Profits Study

Listen to what Tim says about how he uses HammerTap to Decide What to Sell  
Tim's discovery about the words he used in his titles using HammerTap  

During the Grow My Profits study, you will have an opportunity to take a look at how real businesses grow and develop, using HammerTap market research and Worldwide Brands product sourcing tools.

Tim Reynolds Study Journal

Entry One
Entry Two
Entry Three
Entry Four
Entry Five  
Concluding Entry  

"I can directly correlate progress in my business to HammerTap. My gross revenue is up over 40% since joining this study, the number of listings that I have has decreased by about 50%.... HammerTap has also given insight into what special features and keywords to use. This has increased my margins (on some products by as much as 30%) and decreased my fees."

Jen's Comment: When I asked Tim about whether cutting down the number of listings he has to manage has effected the way he does business in general, he says that he now has the time to expand his business in ways that he wasn't able to before--even with the time he spends researching.


September 28, 2006

I have found HammerTap DeepAnalysis to be a very useful tool for me to find products that are selling well for other sellers. Even though I am probably not using all the functionality of the software it has helped me to determine pricing and when items are being listed.

Of course this is just the beginning. You still have to use other tools such as search engines, comparison sites as well as looking at local retail outlets to find products at a price that will be profitable.

Tim


October 6, 2006

This has been a very busy week for me. I am completing the switch over of my auction management software. Now I will have more time to research for new, hot, profitable products, and hopefully locate some good reliable sources. First calls with Jen, Tisha and the group this week and I found all very advantageous to my business.

On the call with Jen, I was shown how to use Hammertap to search for products using different strategies. Since the call was only a couple of days ago I have not been able to fully test the new techniques. Using the LSR(listing sell rate) and ASP(average sale price) will help determine a product that both sells at a high rate but also has a decent margin, both critical in growing my business in volume and profit. Another thing that I haven’t spent a lot of time on in the past, is looking at how sellers were listing, or products were selling in the past. This functionality in Hammertap should be very useful, especially going into the holiday season. I can see what products were big sellers last year and if other eBay sellers used any special techniques to increase sales during the holidays. A third thing I learned from Jen was how to use Hammertap to find hot products, and keywords that I can use in my auctions to increase sales. These are all techniques that I will be testing this week.

I also learned quite a bit about sourcing new products. One thing I have not fully exploited are local distributors. Tisha pointed out that right here in Dallas is a possible gold mine, The Dallas Market Center. She also pointed out that a must is visiting tradeshows, something I have neglected to do in the past, but will now be exploring. Of course this isn’t going to guarantee any kind of success, but with a lot of emails and phone calls, and some negotiating techniques, my chances of finding a good reliable, trustworthy source for the products that I find using Hammertap should increase. This is very important to me as I have had issues with vendors, especially in the past couple of weeks. We also took a quick tour of the World Wide Brands website, which is also very promising for find new producst. Narrowing down the search should help speed up the process. I am only testing the site and have not joined, but have already sent out some emails. Hopefully I will have more on this next week.

Last but not least in our group meeting, Bryan made a great point on using traffic reports to help determine if any changes you make to an auction actually brings more traffic and hopefully more sales. In the past I have only used the traffic reports to find out where the traffic was coming from, and which items were getting the most traffic. Bryan has a great idea that I will be testing next week.


October 13, 2006

What an appropriate way for this week to end, Friday the 13th. I heard a guy on the radio this morning say that when he was a kid his school bus crashed and almost went off a cliff on Friday the 13th, but nobody was hurt so he thought that Friday the 13th was a lucky day. I am still standing to fight another day so I guess Friday the 13th must be lucky for me to.

I had some issues with accessing HammerTap3 this week so I didn’t get to use the program as much as I wanted. I did get use it to do some research. I came up with an idea for a product to sell during the holidays, and used the history option of HammerTap3 to see if the product was selling during the holiday season 2005 and if it would be profitable to sell. All my questions were answered. New product will be going up this weekend.

Also found a very good way to narrow the search for a product, using keywords and the filters that are in HammerTap3. It is an excellent way to narrow the search for a product and make sure that your results are not skewed by too broad of a search. An example would be searching for a particular computer processor, but the search is skewed by the sale of a couple of laptops. This also helps find keywords that are relevant and will hopefully provide a higher LSR and greater margin.

This week I had the opportunity to explore a new webiste, TSNN.Com, a website that list all the tradeshows going on in the country. There is a lot of information on this website, will need to spend more time evaluating it, but have already found a tradeshow I am going to attend. Wish me luck.

Business was skewed a little this week and last by moving to the new auction management software. Will put in place what I learned this week and see how sales go.


October 27, 2006

This was both a good and a bad week for my business. The use of HammerTap3 is becoming profitable for me. I have been going through my current products and doing two things. I am finding out where the product is in their life cycle and I am researching keywords that I can use in my auctions. From the research on product life cycle I have found that I have made some poor choices, or better poor timing, on when I have made some of my purchases. I no longer just purchase a product just because it is hot. It has been a very enlightening experience. The second thing, researching keywords has had a very profitable effect. Because of this research, I have been able to increase my ASP and increase my margins and improve my LSR. I have also found out some things about the products that I sell that I did not know, like some functionality that I was not aware of.

Now for the bad stuff. I did not find any new vendors but had to remove a vendor from my vendor list. A lesson learned from this is that it is wise to investigate a vendor before purchasing from them, and to periodically check them out. One way to purchase from a trusted vendor would be to join World Wide Brands and choose known trusted vendors. Vendors can also be checkout through D&B, BBB or the Bad Business Bureau.


November 17, 2006

This marks the halfway point of this study so I have taken time to evaluate my business and determine the effects of participating in this study and using HammerTap and World Wide Brands. Here is what I have been able to determine.

First, I have recently signed up with World Wide Brands and I am in the process of filtering through all of the vendors, so I do not have any progress to report on any new vendors or products. It does however, look very promising. This will become ever more important to me as I wind down my inventory for Christmas and start the new year.

"I can directly correlate progress in my business to HammerTap. My gross revenue is up over 40% since joining this study, the number of listings that I have has decreased by about 50%.... HammerTap has also given insight into what special features and keywords to use. This has increased my margins (on some products by as much as 30%) and decreased my fees."

Jen's Comment: When I asked Tim about whether cutting down the number of listings he has to manage has effected the way he does business in general, he says that he now has the time to expand his business in ways that he wasn't able to before--even with the time he spends researching.

HammerTap is a different issue. I was using sparingly HammerTap before I started this study. Under utilizing HammerTap you might say. HammerTap is a rich resource and I am learning every week new and better ways of researching information on my products and auctions. HammerTap has become a very useful tool in my toolbox.

I have started using new auction management software so that also has had an effect on my business, but I can directly correlate progress in my business to HammerTap. My gross revenue is up over 40% since joining this study, the number of listings that I have has decreased by about 50%. This is partially due to the change over in software but HammerTap has helped me to determine what to cutback on, what to increase and what time of day and week to list. HammerTap has also given insight into what special features and keywords to use. This has increased my margins (on some products by as much as 30%) and decreased my fees. Because I have been able to cut back on the number of auctions I am managing, I have had more time to research product life cycle, new products, and my competition.

I look forward to the second half of this study and fully implementing all that I have learned and what I am about to learn. I have found HammerTap to be a base tool that I think is a must in everyone’s toolbox.


Concluding Entry

January 22, 2007

On Tim's Experience in the Study
This study with HammerTap and World Wide Brands has been fantastic for me and my company. I have learned so much I am not sure where to start. First, working with Jen and Tisha has forced me to take a good look at my business and evaluate where I am and where I want to go. They have provided some of the tools to help me get there.

This business is ever changing so to know where your business stands is critical. This means knowing and understanding your products and the life cycle that they are in. It also means knowing your competition and what and when they are selling.

"I am constantly searching for new products to sell, and HammerTap has kept me from making the errors that I have made in the past, that is purchasing products that are in the last stages of the life cycle with little profit to be made, or quite possibly, selling at a loss.... Another very useful way to use HammerTap is to decide when the best time to post your listings and what features to add."

Jen's Comment: After his Christmas sales were all calculated, Tim let me know that his revenue was up around 400% from August, and up 40% from the same time period last year. That's impressive. Tim's progress represents his great knowledge of how to use the tools he has at hand (HammerTap and Worldwide Brands) to is best advantage."

On Trending
As for my products, before I purchase, I have a good understanding of the earnings potential, and have and should continue to be able to increase my sales success and margins. HammerTap allows me to do this by tracking the sale of these products, not just for the previous year, but I also used HammerTap to view sales from the previous Christmas that helped me increase my profits during the busy holiday season.

On Finding New Products
I am constantly searching for new products to sell, and HammerTap has kept me from making the errors that I have made in the past, that is purchasing products that are in the last stages of the life cycle with little profit to be made, or quite possibly, selling at a loss. I should also be aided by World Wide Brands in this pursuit of new products by their extensive list of vendors.

On Making the Most on Every Listing
Another very useful way to use HammerTap is to decide when the best time to post your listings and what features to add. I track the best time of the week and day to list, whether to use auction or fixed price to make the most money, and which feature like gallery or buy-it-now to use to increase margins. Also, this is an excellent tool to use to find keywords. This feature in particular has been very successful for me in increasing my margins.

On Watching the Competition
As for my competition, I have a much better view of what they are selling and the fees that they are paying. This helps me to also choose products to sell, and it also helps me to gauge how my business is doing. Competition is stiff and knowing your competition is a must. The information I can get from ebay is ok, but the information provided by HammerTap has been a key factor in making my business decisions, and growing my business.





This study is being conducted by HammerTapTM and Worldwide BrandsTM. Not all qualified applicants will be accepted for participation.



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